Dolphinious the Dolphin
Greek:Long ago there lived a bard named Arion. His songs and poems were so beautiful that animals and people alike would sit silently while he played. One day Arion competed in a song contest in a far off land. Naturally, he won, and he was rewarded with bags of gold, a jeweled sword, and a suit of silver armor. The only ship he could catch back home, unknown to him, was a pirate ship. When the crew saw the riches he was carrying, they decided to kill him. The captain approached him and told Arion that he and his crew were going to kill him and take his wealth. Arion had one last request-to play his harp. While he was playing and singing, a dolphin swam up along the ship to listen. Arion threw himself overboard, and the dolphin took him to the nearest port where a king lived. The first thing Arion did was tell the local authorities. When the pirate ship reached the port, the crew was arrested and brought before the king.
"What happened to the bard Arion who was on your ship?" asked the king.
"The fellow was quite mad," replied the captain,"he jumped overboard and was eaten by sharks."
"So what did you do?" asked the king.
"We did what any good seafarer would do. We found the shark and killed it so it wouldnít harm anyone else."
At that moment, Arion stepped out of his hiding place and said "Thatís the same thing we do to pirates in this town."
The next day, the pirates were executed and Arionís treasure was returned. A few days later, he safely returned home.
Hebrew:These stars were thought to represent Leviathan, the Hebrew's version of the primordial chaos dragon.
Caananite:The Caananites saw it as the god Yam, also called Sea, who their storm god Baal defeats. (As an interesting note, Yam is sometimes called Lotan or the Serpent, similar to the chaos dragon in the Hebrew Bible.) The gods were having a banquet, and Yam sent two messagers to demand that the gods surrender Baal to him. Baal surrenders himself then defeats Yam with two clubs called Chaser and Driver. Some sources say the constellation of Cephus the King represented Baal.
Draco the Dragon
Greek:The Greeks saw this constellation as a dragon that aided the titans in their battles against the gods. During the war, Athena grabbed the dragon by the tail and threw it into the sky. Due to the Earth's rotation, the dragon became all twisted up, and since he was thrown into the Northern part of the sky he froze due to the cold.
Hydra the Water Dragon
Greek=The Greeks saw this large but dim constellation as the monster Hercules defeated as part of his twelve labors. The monster had several heads, and each time Hercules cut off one of the heads, two more grew back in its place. He may have been defeated, but his nephew Iolus found out that if he could seal the neck stump with a burning torch, two more heads wouldn't grow back. Together, they defeated the hydra. However, the last head was made of gold and couldn't be killed, so Hercules buried it under a rock so it wouldn't harm anyone. It was also said that he dipped his arrows in the dragon's poisonous blood, so that even the slightest scratch could be lethal.
Babylonian:The Babylonians saw this as Tiamat, the goddess of the Primordial Waters. With her husband Apsu, they gave birth to the first gods, including Anshar, Kishar, Enki and Anu. The dancing and noisemaking of her children upset Apsu, so he suggested that they kill them off so it would once again be quiet. However, Tiamat refused with the long suffering heart of a mother. Apsu still wanted to kill the gods off, and word of his plans reached the gods. All panicked except Enki, who used his magic to set Apsu and his Vizier Mummu to sleep. He then killed Apsu, stole his crown, and established his temple over his body. This made Tiamat very mad. She remarried the god Kingu and gave him the Tablets of Destiny, making him the supreme Lawgiver. Finally, she began to raise an army of demons who had poison for blood, irresistible weapons, and whose appearance was death. More of this story will be told under the constellation "Ophiucus."
Greek:The serpent bearer, Aesculapius, was taught the healing arts by the centaur scholar Chiron. He was the greatest doctor in all of Greece. He accompanied Jason on his quest to find the Golden Fleece as the shipís doctor. It was said that he could cure any disease, close any wound, and even bring people back from the dead. This last skill made Hades quite upset, so he complained to Zeus that Aesculapius was thinning the legions of his kingdom. Zeus ended the doctorís life with a thunderbolt.
Babylonian:To the Babylonians, this constellation was their high god Marduk. After Apsu had been defeated, Enki and his wife Damkina gave birth to Marduk, who was said to have four eyes and four ears. His utterance was fire and he gleamed with power. Anu gave his grandson the winds as a gift and let him play with them as he chose. When the gods found out about Tiamatís new army, they panicked. Marduk arose as their champion and crafted for himself his own weapons. To show off his power, he destroyed and restored a constellation by the authority of his command. The gods cheered. Finally, Marduk rode off to battle. He mounted the Storm Chariot with his four horses: Slayer, Pitiless, Flyer, and Racer. He took the Four Winds, the Death Wind, the tornado, and the flood weapon. He equipped himself with a magical herb to protect him from poison. Bravely, Marduk engaged Tiamat First, Tiamat attempts to taunt Marduk, but he remains undaunted. He traps her with the winds and fires a bolt of lightning down her throat, ending her life. He captures her armies and smashes their weapons. He then severs her arteries with his mace and has the wind take her blood to the gods as proof of his victory. Standing over Tiamatís body, he slices her in half and creates the earth and sky. He fashions the clouds, rain, mountains, and assigns a place (constellation) for each of the gods. Victorious, he holds a council of the gods where they decide to make mankind from Kinguís blood to ease their burden. At the celebration feast, Marduk grants the captured gods freedom if they build a temple for him. Finally, he is given 50 names of power.
Greek:The winged horse Pegasus was born from the blood of the Medusa that was killed by Persus. The horse was tamed by the hero Bellerophon, who used it to defeat the monstrous Chimera, a creature with the body of a lion, the heads of a goat, dragon, and lion, and a snake for a tail. Bellerophon and Pegasus went on many adventures together, but one day he ordered the horse to take him to Mount Olympus. This made Zeus angry, so he ordered a fly to bite the horse and cause Bellerophon to fall back to earth. Bellerophon survived the fall, but was crippled. Not wanting to have to end the career of another hero like this, Zeus placed Pegasus in the sky as a constellation in the heavenly stables of Mount Olympus.
Cetus the Sea Monster
Greek:This constellation represented the sea monster that Perseus fought to rescue Andromeda. His exact appearance varies. Some sources say he was a serpent, others a dragon, and others say he was a whale.